Why I no longer read viral content

There’s a handy little app for Facebook that fixety-fixes things so that you can filter out annoying content:

… that kind of thing.  It’s called Social Fixer and I endorse it heavily and heartily.

The problem, of course, is that Social Fixer is only responsive technology, that is, it can only filter out content you’ve already identified as objectionable.  You have to object to annoying posts first.

Lately, I’ve noticed most of my knee-jerk “fixing” has to do with parenting posts (or articles or videos) that have gone viral.  I just have so little patience for it.  My friends share, share, share and I reflexively hide, hide, hide.

Why the aversion?  If I’m going to be honest, it’s partly envy that someone else’s work has gone viral and mine hasn’t — but that only accounts for, say, 3-5% of my irritation.  It’s mostly boredom.  I mean, how many different ways are there to say, “This is hard; you’re doing alright?”  I checked: there are seven.  I’ve read those seven ways, and they were pretty good but I swear — everything from eight through infinity sounds exactly the same:


There is some good in posts that go viral.  They wouldn’t go viral if there wasn’t.  But the difference between finding astonishingly good writing or a perfectly phrased insight all your own can’t be underestimated.

It’s the difference between the pie that you bake from apples you picked … and this.  It’s the difference between the way you always pictured a character from a beloved children’s book, and the actor some casting agent picked for the part (I mean, Michael Landon was a fine actor, but is there a person alive who didn’t think Victor French would have made a better Pa Ingalls?).  It’s the difference between burying your nose in a guide book and setting off on your own adventure.

Go forth.

It’s a wrap

In the final installment of the parenting roundtable, The Daily Post has word-wrangled a near-dozen tips on blogging while parenting.  As the title promises, these are good guidelines for writing blogs in general, not just  family life in particular.

My top three tips were:

  1. use real(ish) names (if you can find a way to be comfortable with that)
  2. post regularly (including a few ideas on how to find your posting groove)
  3. don’t forget about you (your story matters, too, Morgan Freeman!)

Big thanks to Michelle for pulling together our different takes on all things familial, and a reminder to check out rest of the roundtable writers — they’re swell!



“Mama, I have to go Part Two …”

Here’s part two of The Daily Post’s blogging while parenting series!  Featuring me!  And other people who do a much better job of sounding like they know what they’re doing.

This installment serves up more great tips, this time about knowing when to share and when to shaddup already:

Today, they delve into the nitty-gritty of establishing boundaries online. How much detail is appropriate to share? What topics are off-limits? What about posting photos? How is their children’s other parent involved in the blog, if at all? Their advice is great for anyone writing about (or posting photos of) family and friends, whether they’re tall enough for the roller coaster or not.

Please give a big Daily Post welcome to our panel. And no funny business, or they will turn this blog around. They mean it.

Oh, I will SO turn this blog around, Missy.  Don’t you think for a second that I won’t.

[Funny story: my ex-boyfriend’s parents actually DID pull over the side of the road once, and kicked their squabbling kids out of the car.  They they (the parents) got back in and drove away.  Just over the hill; far enough to freak out the kids, whose thoughts instantly turned to how they were going to build a fire and a shelter, because when you’ve got parents that funny, you learn survival skills early on.  These parents also used to hide in the house and wait for the kids to notice they were gone.  So great.]

There’s more to come in next week’s final installment, plus some bonus content in this month’s WordPress/Daily Post newsletter, so go sign up for that nowzo.

And because I know at least my similarly tongued sister will get a kick out of it, here’s my 100% off-point response to the “Are there things you’ll never write about?” question:

I will never write about that time I ate raisins/cilantro/black liquorice and enjoyed it.

Shooting the poop (it’s a three-part scoop!)

I went searching for a stock photo I could include with this post — something that might humourously reference the title — and, well, you can see the results for yourself:

gun_toilet_brushYep. I wasn’t able to ascertain the actual manufacturer of this high-calibre (HA!) cleaning implement, but if it’s not Sh*tty Sh*tty Bang Bang Inc. this world is dead to me.

Alive and well, however, is this blog and those of five other sharp shooters tasked by WordPress to talk about family blogging.  They asked us to talk about ourselves; we wouldn’t shut up.  Three-parter!

In Part One, they share their take on the evolution of parenting blogs, the parenting blog community, and writing about sensitive or controversial topics that may embarrass their future teenagers; part two will focus on what they share (how much detail?) and how they share it (photos? social networks?), and part three on their top tips for new parenting bloggers, from honest writing to picking a good blog title.

You can read the first part over at The Daily Post blog — Mommy and Daddy Bloggers Shoot the Poop: Part One — and if you’re in the market for a few new blogs to follow,  please consider some of the great bloggers included in the roundtable.  They’re fun, funny folks — even if they do eat all the scallops.

If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.

If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.